The works of an artist extraordinaire

Wafiur Rahman
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017


A review of Maksuda Iqbal Nipa’s “Episodes of Her Gaze” by Cosmos Books


In his foreword, Emmy and Oscar winner Dr Jim Frazier wrote that after meeting artist Maksuda Iqbal Nipa, “her stupendous work appealed to something very primal, very innate within me. The splashes of colour – serve as a vivid invitation into the abstract expressionism that is Nipa’s screed, to lose herself in the vast canvasses she likes to use”. The foreword was for a book on Nipa and her works, titled “Episodes of Her Gaze”, recently launched by Gallery Cosmos and Bangladesh National Museum.


Nipa’s journey as a woman and artist is about toiling with spaces of birth, prolonged states of contemplation and obscured flights of silent fancies. Her pictorial parameters are gardens of the seen, unseen and the absorption of moments as the eyes take in the trillions of information. But her link is more to the sensory unconscious mating of environments where she dwells in an escape, seeking bliss. The zone of her imaginative contemplation is the words hidden behind veils of curiosity and doubt. In her visual plates, the anxiety of merging the ethereal and objective and the contest between directions, takes her into a perusal of pictorial repetition and planes of separation.


There is an inclination of losing the self into a private monologue of layers, as a conversation between thoughts, memory and time. For Nipa circles with dialectic, horizontal or broken fragments of form illustrate her chosen modes. She rectifies her subjectivity into circles penetrating various formations of expression. Her certain obsessions and journeys are silenced and trapped within the visuals as layers pressing the other, keeping an essence of the previous times. It is tenderness as a gestural play. Her use of scratchy strokes of anxiety creates tactile sensitivity, subdued dense lines of obscurity relating to an unfathomable space of vision. The pigments from underneath and within are parallel and vertical cross-hatchings of gestural activity between visual elements. They are chromatic gradation of light sensations.


Published by Cosmos Books, it covers an extensive range of her artworks and contains definitive reviews of her work by numerous art critics, both domestic and international. Enayetullah Khan, Chairman of Gallery Cosmos, in his review titled “More than meets the eye”, wrote that “Nipa’s work, irrespective of their aesthetic appeal with the splash and sinew of colours, is not for the uninitiated….For on closer viewing, every single line, dot, sprinkle and profound colour on NIpa’s canvas exudes the full range of human emotion in front of you.”


According to art critic Javed Jalil, Nipa’s private colour codes are her motifs of insight gazing from the visible to the underlying entities. Parisian art expert Dominique Stal has gone on to state that “Nipa’s work evokes shades of Monet”.


Nipa has received numerous awards and grants from Japan, China and Bangladesh. After completing her M.Ed. in Fine Art (Painting) from Aichi University of Education, Japan, she has held numerous solo and group shows both at home and abroad, including the ones held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France; the Toyota Municipal Art Museum in Toyota, Japan; the Las Vegas Art Museum, USA and the Youngone Corporation in Seoul, Korea. She has been honoured by Bangladesh Mahila Parishad for her outstanding contribution to art.

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